Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cooper Discusses Senior Dog Health with Experts

All My Loot!
Cooper has been busy the last few weeks. He has been going to school, learning new things and has also been looking into the special care of Seniors. Cooper LOVES his Mama Tina and nothing is too good for her!

Cooper talked with LeighAnn, a Licensed Veterinary Technician and Dr. Jones Shults on the care of Seniors.

by LeighAnn J. & Jennifer Jones Shults

Care of Senior Dogs
As our dogs age, they are more likely to have aches and pains. But they can stay healthy and active well into their later years with a little planning and preventative care. We can also provide excellent care to senior dogs that have already developed joint problems or painful areas. In addition, German Shepherds are one of the breeds that are at increased risk for developing problems that can affect the nervous system, like disk disease, lumbosacral disease, and degenerative myelopathy. 
As a rehabilitation trained veterinarian, I always start with a nose to tail thorough examination. This includes a general exam, gait evaluation, exam of all the muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, and bones, and a neurologic exam. German Shepherds are at risk for wrist arthritis as they age, injuries to the support structure on the back of the wrist, developmental problems in the elbow that can lead to arthritis as they age, spinal arthritis, hip dysplasia leading to hip arthritis, injury to the knees, lumbosacral disease, and degenerative myelopathy. Any dog can have any combination of these, and an accurate diagnosis is essential to an effective treatment plan. 
We utilize a combination of treatments in each dog to obtain the best results. Options vary based on the diagnosis and the dog, but may include:
  • Supplements to keep joints lubricated and reduce inflammation
  • Exercise at home to keep muscles strong; often a targeted home exercise program is needed
  • Low-level LASER therapy to reduce pain & inflammation and stimulate healing
  • Electrical stimulation of weak muscles or painful areas
  • Cold & heat therapy
  • Soft Tissue mobilizations to loosen stiff joints or muscles
  • Acupuncture
  • In-House gym sessions to focus on specific problems
  • Hydrotherapy like swimming or underwater treadmill
  • Proprioceptive training for dogs with neurologic dysfunction
  • Support devices like Help ‘Em Up harness or ToeGrips
  • Pain medications – many options

Ultimately, our German Shepherds can live well into their senior years with great quality of life. My own German Shepherd lived to be nearly 14 years.  Focusing on keeping active leads to an overall better quality of life, with more adventures with your canine friend.

Jennifer Jones Shults, DVM, CCRT

If you have questions about the care of a Senior, LeighAnn will be at our Adoption Event:

Adoption Event/AniMall/Cary
Saturday August 9th, 2014 10:30 AM until 12:30 PM
Location: AniMall Pet Adoption and Outreach Center (919) 465-2500
Map: 1105 Walnut Street, Suite H8808 Cary NC 27511
See all of the animals attending this event.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cooper Introduces the Gem Gang!

Puppies, Puppies, Puppies! We have puppies in the House! These little "Gems" were a GSRA surprise. In early June, we rescued Ruby and her daughter Juliet from the shelter, not knowing that on June 10, 2014 we would wake up to a surprise! Ruby's foster mom started to suspect that Ruby might be pregnant and that morning she gifted us with 6 beautiful girls and 2 handsome boys! These little bundles of joy are 5 weeks old. We keep the pups with their Mama until they are at least 8 weeks old. Then we pair them off and send them to new foster homes so they can learn to live in a home without their Mama and the rest of their siblings. Then, between 10-12 weeks they begin interviewing potential forever homes! But, what kind of forever homes are these little guys looking for?

Why a Puppy isn't Right for Everyone

Run Roxy, RUN! The Puppies were introduced to Roxy, a
senior girl. Puppies will chase ANYTHING and anyone! 
Ok, everyone loves a puppy! We are cute! I should know, I am still a puppy! Who can resist the adorable bundle of fur and the puppy breath? We are so darn sweet, but we grow up and we grow up fast! Puppies can be a great addition to some families, but adult or senior dogs are a better fit for many. GSRAs policy is that we do not adopt dogs under a year old to families with children under 8. We also highly recommend crate training.  We have been questioned about these two practices. Sure, many people have small children and puppies, but if those people were honest with you, in most cases they will admit it was a LOT of extra work! Let me take the opportunity to discuss this in detail. 

Myth: Puppies and Babies Always Go Together

GSD are social creatures. They need companionship.
"You know that cute Kodak commercial with the puppies climbing all over the giggling little boy? Have you ever noticed how short it is? That's because they could only film for a few seconds before the welts rose, the blood dripped, and the boy began to scream for his mother. Puppies have needle sharp-teeth that they happily sink into anyone who walks by. They also have sharp nails that scratch when they jump up - and on the little one, those front feet land right around his face (Betsy Morris)." Baby GSDs are little herding dogs in training. They have sharp teeth and they play rough to get them ready for the job they were bred to do. All too often people adopt a puppy with small children only to give the dog up because the dog is "biting" the child, scratching the child, or playing with the child like he is also a GSD puppy. This is natural for the puppy. I still bite my Mama's ankles because I think it is funny. A baby's skin is much more fragile. As a rescue, we can't put one of our pups in a situation like this. I think any tired mother of a toddler will tell you that they don't need two toddlers running around, especially one with sharp teeth and a desire to tinkle in the house. I hope I didn't make us puppies sound bad! Puppies are great in no kid homes or homes with older children who can help them learn good behavior.

Myth: Crate Training a Puppy is Cruel

All pups need plenty of outside, social time.
Crate training isn't cruel!  My Mama got an email while she was still my foster Mama explaining that she was being cruel to me because she was crate training me. I would like to argue that point. When I first came to live with my family I was just a tiny little 2-3 month old pup. I didn't know about dangers and I was not house broken. My family didn't leave me in the crate all day! But, I did stay in the crate any time my Mama could not directly supervise me. Let me ask this question, would you leave your human pup unsupervised while you were gone or in another part of the house? I don't think you would! Also, if I had been left unsupervised when I first got here, I would have gotten into trouble! Instead of being let out of my kennel to play and get lov'ins, my Mama would have been upset and would have had to spend precious "Cooper Time" cleaning up my mess! I never get yelled at for doing bad things, because my Mama doesn't set me up for failure. That is what a crate is for! I no longer sleep in my crate at night. I have a soft bed beside Tina's bed. I only go into my crate to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and when my family cannot be home with me. The crate is not a punishment or a bad place to be. Crate training a puppy is an extremely humane way to teach a pup how to live in a house. The Humane Society has a great page explaining how to crate train properly. Remember, puppies do not know the difference in their toys, electrical wires, your best MK pumps or your child's favorite binky. A puppy needs supervision to learn these things! 

Cooper in school listening to his teacher.

About the Author

My name is Cooper and I was rescued by GSRA in May of 2014. I was adopted in June of 2014 by my foster mommy and I am about 5 months old now. I started school a few weeks ago. I did VERY well my first night of school and I was the best in class if I say so myself. However, my second class did not go as well. Week two was walking around a store and taking treats from strangers. I did NOT like this. I was so scared I had an accident on the floor!
Cooper not sure about this "meet a stranger" night.
Hanging at Panera Bread. People LOVE me! 
My Mama decided to just walk me around, but not to let strangers pet me or give me treats. It was just too much for me. I came home from my second class a little sad. So, Papa and my big brother Asher took me to Tractor Supply and Panera Bread the next day. My brother Asher showed me how wonderful the world outside the house can be! 

Thank you all for reading my blog. Check out the Gem Puppies first music video below! They will be available for adoption in about 6 weeks!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July from Cooper!

Cooper will be back next week with an update on our Gem Litter! He wants to remind everyone to have a HAPPY & SAFE 4th of July. Please remember that fireworks can be frightening to animals. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Just a Random Dog

“Just a Random Dog”

While frolicking and playing with my parents and new siblings in the yard, my Papa was exclaiming what a wonderful, smart and talented dog I am. But, he paused, looked into my eyes and said, “Cooper, you are just a random dog.” Mama and I stopped with the look of disgust on our faces and wondered what ailment had touched poor Papa’s brain! I AM NOT A RANDOM DOG! Papa went on to explain that I WAS just a random dog. He wondered aloud how many other dogs as cute and sweet and smart as me were in the shelter, or worse…? Papa said I was just a random dog that was lucky enough to find a person to call animal control, be taken to a caring shelter who in turn reached out to rescue. I then had a rescue to step up because they had a foster home available. Even if I had not be adopted by my foster parents, I would have been adopted because the rescue committed to me. If any of these events had fallen through, I would have become one of the sad statistics in America today!

After listening to Papa, Mama and I decided to talk to you today about one of the people in my rescue, the foster. If the rescue had not had space for me, I might have ended up a statistic! Everyday rescues and shelters must turn away animals. It is not because they do not care; it is because they do not have room. Because of loving foster homes, “Random Dogs” like me get a second chance to survive. Without these foster homes, dogs like me die everyday in shelters and on the streets. 

In a foster home, we learn basic obedience and we learn how wonderful life can be; this makes us more adoptable. Sadly, GSRA and other wonderful rescues around the country must turn away dogs because they do not have room. Some of these caring foster homes have multiple fosters at a time and these spaces are extremely precious.

You may be reluctant to become a foster. Maybe my story did not convince you. Perhaps you are one of the many who think that you would fall in love with your foster and not be able to give them up. Maybe you have thought about it, but you keep waiting for the “Right Time” to start. I am going to turn this over to my mom and a few of GSRAs fosters to tell you more about their experience as a foster. 

Being a Foster

Being a foster is one of the most amazing things you can do. No one can really describe what it is like. Watching a shutdown animal discover toys for the first time is one of the most humbling experiences. Watching them learn to approach people, even though they were abused, or watching them learn that they WILL get another meal after this one. Nothing can really prepare you for the feelings you get inside watching this transformation. I have fostered many dogs. Yes, I fall in love with every one of them. I tell them they are mine until I find someone better. I have foster failed 3 times. But, I have foster succeeded many more than that. Watching the dog you have cared for, loved, taught, fed and perhaps nursed through illness get in the car to go home with her new parents causes many emotions. You experience heart break, joy, and love for these new people who are going to care for your baby. When it is right, they are easy to let go because you know in your heart, it is the best thing.

Carol describes the joys of fostering like this: Aside from being incredibly rewarding, fostering has made me a much better dog handler than I would otherwise be. I’ve been exposed to (and learned to manage!) far more dog personalities than I would ever have myself in a lifetime of dog-ownership, and each one has taught me something important. And when each one is launched successfully into his or her new forever home, well, there’s NO beating that feeling. You’re a mix of happy, sad, and proud, but mostly happy and proud. Because it means that now there’s space to save another one….

Elizabeth says that being a foster mom gives her the opportunity to have more dogs than she would normally ever get to have. 

Connie describes her experience: I’ve always had a great love and a special bond with dogs. I’ve always thought about fostering, but like so many others, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to let them go. My heart has always gone out to the dogs who are abused, neglected, abandoned, etc. so about a year ago, I knew it was time to step up and give it a try. Fostering to me was all about helping dogs, whether it was to help them get healthy, trust in people again or just to show them they do deserve to be loved and cared for. What I found out was that for all I try to give to my fosters; what they give to me is beyond words. To see them heal, learn to love, trust and to be happy; to me is the greatest gift there is. Now don’t get me wrong, it can be a mix of feelings to let them go to their new furever family, but when you find that special home and you see how happy and loved they are, you know you did what was right for them. And because you were able to let go, you now have a chance to offer another dog a second chance for life. I can’t imagine my life without dogs and I know now that fosters will always be a special part of it.

If you are in North Carolina and you think a GSD is the type of dog you could foster, please fill out our foster application. If you are not in NC or you think a GSD isn’t the right fit for you, please explore your locate shelters and rescues. You will not regret becoming a foster! Link to applications.

Helping dad survey the land before building a deck.
About the Author: My name is Cooper and I was recently adopted by my foster family. I started puppy school on Wednesday, but was promoted to the beginner class with the big dogs! Please stay tuned for my adventures. I am going to school, I plan to take the Good Citizen Test and I would like to visit nursing homes with my mom. 

Check out my video below and don't forget my friends Sani, Shelby, Lupa and Reese and my sister Chelsea who are looking for Furever homes! Feel free to email my mom at for more information.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cooper Introduces Lupa and Chelsea

This has been a busy week! My friend Lupa needs a home and I found my sister!

Lupa the Beautiful

First I will tell you about the AMAZING and Sassy Lupa! Lupa was found with her two pups and only weighing 47 pounds!!! (Geesh, I am almost 40 lbs!). She didn't know how to live in a house because the poor girl had been a stray for no one knows how long. But, now that she is in her foster home, she has learned to "sit", "come", "down", and "off". She is still working on "Stay" - that is a hard one. I can't do that one either!

Lupa needs a home where she can continue her training. Since she was a stray out on her own, she didn't have much need for a leash. But, now she needs to walk on a leash. She still isn't good at that. See, she is a pretty girl with some attention issues! Can anyone say "SQUIRREL"? She is easily distracted. We know there is a family out there who would love to help her master this skill also!

Lupa LOVES the car! She will go ANYWHERE with you. I suggest she try out Sonic and the cheese sticks! Lupa also LOVES to make music with squeaky toys. I think she probably will be asked to join the Dog Symphony soon! Lupa also LOVES to swim! Are you seeing all these good traits???

Lupa would be fine as an only dog. However, she could be part of a pack, but would need supervision at dinner time with other dogs. Because Lupa was so hungry when we found her, she has some resource guarding issues with other dogs. Who can blame her? She was in the big bad world and had to feed her two pups! She has made AMAZING improvements and would need to have supervision at dinner time as she continues to learn that she WILL get dinner.

Lupa is crate trained. She is sweet and fun loving also. They call her a Velcro dog because she sticks to her humans like VELCRO. Lupa knows what it is like on the outside, so she will keep you close. She is working on her separation Anxiety and would do best in a home where people are home a good portion of the day. Lupa will do well in a home with children and gets along with dogs. See her video below! Check out Lupa's Website for more information.

My Sister Chelsea

Next I want to tell you about my sister! I will be talking about her until we find her a home. Her name is Chelsea and she was found on the same street as me. She has mange also, but she isn't as bad as I was! We want to help the Shelter find her a great home! The shelter says she is as sweet as me! Well, that is SWEET! Just call me Southern Sweet Tea!!!! My Mama and I are going to help the shelter with applicants. Chelsea is located in Flomaton, Alabama and is being well cared for at the Humane Society of Escambia County. You can find them on the web at: and on Facebook. If you are interested in adopting my sister, please email my Foster Mama at and we will assist you. My Mama will also share all the things she did to help me get over my mange! Please help me find my sister a new home. Mama says I get 5 points if we find Chelsea a home! FIVE POINTS!!!! Come on!!! Email my Mama, NOW!

About Cooper

Ok, I have already talked your ear off about my friend Lupa. Please don't forget that my friend Shelby and Sani are still available for adoption. Remember the prize I get??? I have NO POINTS yet! Please, Please, Please adopt one of my friends. If you can't adopt, please share my blog with your friends. Maybe they are looking for a best friend to cuddle with! 

Next week my blog will come out on Thursday instead of Wednesday. Want to know why? I am going to SCHOOL!!!! Mama has my treats packed and we are heading to school next Wednesday night. I can't wait to tell you about my first day of school. Mama says I will be the smartest one in class. 

Please watch my two videos so you can see how well I am doing. The first video is a surprise, so make sure you make it full screen and watch it to the end (it is only 43 seconds) so you can get your surprise! You will see that Lupa isn't the ONLY musician in the GSRA family!

In case you missed my first Jeep ride, see it below. I am just TOO CUTE!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cooper Has FUR!!

I don't mean to be NOSEY, but have you filled out an application for my friends Shelby and Sani yet? Remember, if I can get 10 of my friends adopted I will get a super awesome prize! I am 0/10! To assist, here is the link to the APPLICATION. Also, if you want to adopt one of our other dogs, just put in the comment section of the application that you were referred by Cooper and that will count too!!!!


This week I am going to tell you about my friend Reese before I tell you all the cool things going on in my life! Reese is a 2 year old male who spent his life outside. His first human family was expecting a human baby and said Reese was too much trouble and sent him away!!! Can you believe that??? Reese is a very good boy who just needs a human willing to give him attention and continue the wonderful training his foster mom and other rescue friends have started. Because of his background, he would prefer a calm house and would absolutely love a canine friend to help show him what life is all about! Reese is the WHOLE package! He is a handsome fella like me, very trainable, lovable and appreciative of the attention people give him. 

Now back to ME!

As you know, I went to Grandma's house last week. This week I have been learning new things, growing and being a "Good Cooper". I am almost housebroken! My mama says she is super proud of me. When I have an accident, my mama doesn't do mean things like rubbing my nose in the pee! If she doesn't catch me (I am sneaky), then she just cleans it up. If she catches me, she gets me by the back of the neck (I scream for dramatics) and she takes me outside. Once I pee, she tells me I am a good dog. She doesn't yell at me or hit me. She says that I will NEVER be hit and not to worry my cute self about that at all! I have had only one accident since coming back from Grandma's. I had the accident after Papa got home from work and I was EXCITED!!!!

I have been leaving Mama presents around the house. Here is just a sampling of my baby teeth! Mama says she can't wait until I get my adult teeth because my constant biting is getting old. (She doesn't mean it, she loves me, teething and all!).

Hanging with my sister, Dezzie. Notice all the fur on my legs!

Don't forget GSRA has an Adoption Event this weekend in Cary!
Adoption Event/AniMall/Cary  
Saturday June 14th, 2014 10:30 AM until 12:30 PM
Location: AniMall Pet Adoption and Outreach Center (919) 465-2500
Map: 1105 Walnut Street, Suite H8808 Cary NC 27511

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Cooper Goes to Grandma's House

Cooper Goes to Grandma's House!
Here I am thinking about all the
dogs that need saving

Riding in the car like a BOSS!
I can make anything a toy
This week has been very exciting. Foster Mama and Foster Mama Tina loaded up my toys, blankets, bed, treats, food and condo and put me in the car. We drove for about 4 1/2 hours. I was super good the entire way! I stayed on my bed and snuggled with Mama Tina. At the end of the trip we got to a place they called Grandma's house!

Here I am with my cute self
I really like Grandma's house! Grandma's house has dogs on all sides. Apparently my brother Asher likes to fence fight them. I am too cool to do that apparently and I just watch them. Don't worry mom, if they come over I will GET THEM!

I got to meet a bunch of kids at Grandma's house. Those kids can be scary because they make LOTS of noise, but if they sit down I will gladly lick their faces and make squeaky toys out of them! hehe

This fella is a good squeaky toy, but
Mama would not let me chew on him
too much

Sani Dreaming of his Forever
Now it is time for me to introduce my GSRA dog of the week. Remember, my foster mama promised me a prize if I can get 10 dogs adopted by August. Last week I introduced you to Shelby (she is still available). This week I am going to introduce you to Sani! Sani is a senior. I have a special place in my heart for seniors. My mama Tina is a senior and she was adopted when she was 9 years old! My mama LOVES her Tina and I think you will LOVE Sani!

Mr. Sani is 10 years young and is a gentle giant. Everyone who meets him, loves him! He is mellow and loves to snuggle, but loves a good walk too! He loves to go on car rides and he knows basic commands (OF COURSE HE DOES!). So, if you want a well behaved fella who loves to snuggle, then Sani is the guy for you! He is loyal, mature (AGAIN, what is wrong with puppies?), and will travel!

Now, there is NO reason this fella has not been adopted yet! I have a REAL affection for him and I need for him to be adopted! He reminds me of my Mama Tina and I would HATE to think of my Mama Tina with no forever home! I am 0/10. I need an adoption to help me get my prize! So, go ahead, check out Sani's Webpage and fill out an application ALREADY!